|The male White-faced Meadowhawk|
|The Turtle Pond is home to many dragonflies this summer|
This summer the number of dragonflies at the turtle pond is way up. Perhaps the season’s record rainfall is responsible for the population growth. Certainly there has been a net increase in wetlands for insects to breed in. Even vernal ponds have retained high water levels long into the summer. Mosquitoes and other small flying insects provide the adult dragonflies with much of their food, and definitely there has been a net increase in those pesky creatures this summer.
|An adult male Widow Skimmer has a highly recognizable wing pattern|
|The male 12-spotted Skimmer - another easily recognizable species|
At the turtle pond on a hot afternoon, the diversity of dragonflies is quite incredible. Around a dozen species were represented around one section of the shore. Mostly these were males, patrolling their territories and simultaneously searching for females to mate with.
|The male Eastern Pondhawk at rest on his highly contested territory|
|The female Eastern Pondhawk|
|The female Green Darner Lays eggs while the male clasps her by the neck|
|A female Spatterdock Darner attaches eggs to a submerged cattail stem|
On cattails and other emergent vegetation, the empty exoskeletons of dragonfly nymphs remain hanging on to the leaves where they were shed. The nymph lived a relatively long life as a fierce underwater predator - consuming a wide variety of underwater creatures.
|The shed exoskeleton of a dragonfly nymph hangs onto a cattail leaf|
|The male Common Whitetail perches in a prominent place right above the water|
|White-faced Meadowhawks mating - note the female's lighter color|
|The Eastern Amberwing is a small but beautiful species|
Some of my favorite dragonflies are the smaller species like the meadowhawks and pondhawks. The Eastern Amberwing is also quite small - only about half the size of a Green Darner. Its wings are amber colored and its abdomen is orange with white segment bands.
|The male Calico Pennant is hard to mistake with its red wing markings|
|The Eastern Kingbird is a well known dragon slayer|